Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Preparing Your Toddler for a New Baby

It's a massive shock when you have a baby and suddenly your life as a couple is thrown into chaos by a little bundle of craziness! You have to adjust in so many ways and let go of a lot of those perks of being just 2 adults. Living as a young married couple in Balham, South London we spent a lot if our time out for drinks, meals and lazing in the parks reading newspapers on sunny Sundays. We actually convinced ourselves the baby would fit into our lives rather than the other way round but how very naive we were! 

Nearly 3 years on we've moved out of London, swapped out trendy lifestyle for family life and we're expecting baby number 2 in September. The extra addition to our family doesn't seem too daunting for me and Mr R but there is one person in our family who is about to have her little world turned upside down. D has been the centre of our lives for nearly 3 years and we're a very content little trio so the thought of pulling the pin on the baby grenade and turning our calm to chaos sometimes feels like a crazy idea. 

However at 30 weeks pregnant that fourth member of our family is definitely on her way can't and I can't avoid the inevitable distruption, having a new baby in the house can be pretty mad but what we can do is try to prepare D for the changes that are just around the corner in a hope that she'll see having a new baby as both exciting and an opportunity for her to enjoy a new role as a big sister rather than having to share her life, home and most importantly mum and dad with a squealing little creature who quite frankly isn't anywhere near as much fun as everyone said she would be! 

From the moment we felt it was safe to do so we've talked to D about the baby and how she will soon come and live with us, we've bigged up the idea that D is going to be a very important big sister and tried to involve her as much as possible when buying new things, choosing clothes etc. So with that in mind who was better suited to tell the world about the new baby than D herself! 

As we started buying things we were careful to allow D to help us make choices and have never treated the new things as something she can't touch or look at, it was really important to us that she doesnt feel pushed aside by the new baby and all the 'stuff' that comes with it. In fact Upsy Daisy had already tried out the Shnuggle Moses basket and bath we bought last week! 

I doubt that D really understands what's happening at the moment but predictably in her usual laid back way she's accepted everything without any bother, we've even had a few belly cuddles and she kisses and chats to Baby Pip trying to get her to move. I have no doubts there will be more than few bumps along the way, particularly when baby arrives and the reality of sharing mummy kicks in but I hope that as long as we keep ensuring she's as important to this change as everyone else she'll soon accept things and love her little sister as much as I know they will love her. 

So if your in the same boat and wondering hot to limit the impact a new baby will have on an older sibling here's a few things we've done / plan to do to help with the transition from 3 to 4!

  • Big brother / sister books - we've been to the library and chosen a few books about having baby brothers and sisters - D loves a read so talking about these at bedtime will hopefully start to normalise the situation and reassure D.
  • Let your toddler choose and buy some items for the baby and really be a part if them joining the family
  • Try not to make the baby stuff off limits as this will create a barrier between baby and toddler and again make them feel ikea this baby is taking over their previously perfect life with Mum and Dad
  • It's a popular one but remember a hello gift from baby to toddler - there's nothing like a princess dress or Peppa house to convince a fickle toddler they can be best friends! 
  • When you first bring baby home and introduce them to their big sister or brother try not to be holding the baby so you are free to give your toddler a cuddle and let them say hello to you without baby being in between. 
  • Ask visitors to go to toddler first when visiting for the first time and congratulate them on being a big brother / sister first rather than heading straight to the new baby and potentially leaving toddler feeling left out.
  • When baby is here they will inevitably take up a lot of your time especially in the first few weeks so try to involve your toddler - get them to help with nappy changes, bathing baby and show them how important they are and how grown up they are being
  • Equally it's key to ensure you have some alone time with your bigger sibling. If this is hard for you in the early days with feeding, Dad could treat them to a trip to soft play, swimming or just an ice cream at the park
  • Finally try not to leave any old boxes lying around just in case toddler decides this new arrangement really isn't for them and packs baby off back to where they came from - not that my little angel would ever consider that......

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

29 Week Bump Update

I can't actually believe I'm writing this, it doesn't seem like five minutes since I found out I was pregnant again and here I am third trimester, home stretch and 3 months from our little family of three becoming a chaotic family of four! 

After a second trimester which bought us some ups and downs I am now feeling very very pregnant and dare I say enjoying it! Bump is definitely there now and growing on target and the little bubbles and bumps have become full on kicks and jabs. I'm even coping with the heat although I really wouldn't say no to a bit more sleep at night. As someone who normally sleeps on their front trying to get comfortable on my side in this heat is tricky to say the least

I have however started to feel a tiny twinge of sadness as the last couple of months loom. We had always intended to have 2 children which essentially means this might be my last pregnancy. With working full time, commuting into London and looking after a toddler I'm finding that I don't always have time to appreciate being pregnant and that fear that it will all be over soon and I'll never have a baby bump again is getting more and more real. Yes it has been tougher this time and I can't wait to see my beautiful little lady but it will be bittersweet as I realise it may be the last one.

Unless I can convince Mr R that he'd hardly notice another one once we have 2. 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Surviving a 5 hour car journey with a toddler!

As you know we've just returned from a week in Cornwall and although I couldn't wait for the holiday I was a bit more than apprehensive (mildly terrified) about driving all that way wuth a 2.5 year old. The furthest we've done is just under 3 hours and to be fair that can be a trial at times! 

So after returning relatively unscathed from our journey I thought I'd share some pearls of wisdom that helped us along the way! 

You can never had too many snacks - If your little one is anything like mine nothing keeps her quiet like a box of raisins or couple of breadsticks! Howeve as D has got older she's started to recognise the familiar riddle of Mum and Dad sneaking some Haribos so you might have to abandon the heathy kids treat and share for the sake of peace and quiet - there's only so many lies you can make up to that 'Mummy what in your mouth?' question.

Think about timing your trip - if you can (and if your small person still naps) try to plan the journey so that they can nap mid way through. D is fairly happy for the first hour or so then will inevitably fall asleep - if you can throw a lunch break into the equation even better!

Take lots of Music - this is often a bone of contention in our car and music choice is often down to who gets their order in first between Dad and D. As I would rather have a peaceful journey than listen to credible music I'm often on Ds side and therefore many a long journey is made with Mr Tumble joyfully singing us on our way "hello hello......" Don't pretend you don't know the words!

IPads - I'm aware this will be a controversial one but quite frankly if I'm expecting a toddler to stick out a 4+ hour long car journey in the middle of summer I'm happy to let a few standards slip. I'm not at the stage of trusting my beautiful Pad to D as we drive yet so we bought a holder for the back of my seat so that she can watch a few cartoons along the way. Believe me 4 hours into a hot car journey with a fed up tired toddler it's a massive relief to let them chill out to a few episodes of Mr Tumble or even that blooming Pig! Whatever it takes parenting is a must sometimes.

Share the driving (If you can) - now D is older gone have the days when not driving means relaxing and catching 40 winks while your beloved takes the wheel. Now being the non driver involves a barrage of requests of food, drinks, toys, and in Ds case hand holding! You're the one who is responsible for pointing out every interesting lorry, car or landmark along the way to keep your little one amused as well as then having to explain several times why that car has no roof, where the horsey lorry is going and why that particular wind turbine isn't going round! Believe me when it comes to your turn to take the wheel you'll bresth a huge sigh of relief.

Finally allow lots of time, yes it will extend the total travel time but have a thought for the small person strapped in a chair, not able to move or stretch their legs - the occasional stop to run around or have some food will make life so much easier for them and might even tire them out so they sleep - everyone's a winner

Good luck folks and enjoy your holidays! 

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